Even in a worldwide pandemic, there are some things we take for granted; unfortunately, water is one of them.
You can be sure that there are plenty of people who don’t have the same cavalier attitude towards clean water - that’s because they don’t have it. Consider these sobering facts from Drop in the Bucket, an organization who goal is to build wells and sanitation systems at schools throughout sub-Saharan Africa:
- There are 785 million people in the world without safe water; that’s 1 person out of every 10 who have it.
- A large segment of that number inhabits sub-Saharan Africa; in fact, of the world’s 785 million people without clean water live in this region.
- Over 80% of the disease in developing countries is related to poor drinking water and sanitation.
- By 2030, 47% of the world’s population will be living in regions subjected to severe water shortage.
There are myriad statistics available to illustrate how dire the shortage of clean water is in many parts of the world. The good news is the significant impact that simple access to safe water can have on improving the lives of so many people. This one quote succinctly captures this truism:
“No other single intervention is more likely to have a significant impact of global poverty than the provision of safe water” – Schuster-Wallace. C.J., Grover, V.I., Adeel, Z. Confalonieri, U. and Elliott, S. Safe Water as the Key to Global Health. (United National University, 2008).
And speaking of COVID-19, availability and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is fundamental to fighting the virus. COVID-19 will not be stopped without access to safe water for people living in vulnerability, UN experts say.
Sometimes, we need a proverbial kick in the pants to understand how important safe drinking water is in our lives and what we can do to ensure that a greater percentage of the world’s population has access to it. That was the impetus for creating World Water Day. Held on March 22 every year since 1993, World Water Day focuses on the importance of freshwater and raising awareness of the millions of people living without access to safe water.
According to the United Nations website, it is also about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The idea for this day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. Each year, World Water Day – created through the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General assembly in 1992 – adopts a different theme, always related to water but focusing on a different aspect of how to conserve it, preserve it, clean it, and help people get access to it.
The theme for this year is “Valuing Water.” According to the World Water Day website:
“Water means different things to different people. This conversation is about what water means to you. How is water important to your home and family life, your livelihood, your cultural practices, your well-being, your local environment? Tell us your stories, thoughts and feelings about water. By recording – and celebrating – all the different ways water benefits our lives, we can value water properly and safeguard it effectively for everyone.”
A worldwide discussion about water and its importance to each of us is a valuable exercise - and it has already begun. Check out some of the thought-provoking posts and comments that have been compiled from people around the world. Some are simply heartfelt and inspirational thoughts about how people value water, while others point to specific events and activities that are meant to raise awareness of World Water Day and its mission.
The good people involved with World Water Day have also made it easy to record your thoughts and feelings about how you value water. Go to the “Share” section of the their website and you can conveniently contribute your post to either Facebook or Twitter (they ask that you tag your post with #water2me).
There’s no question that raising the discussion about the value of water will also raise awareness of the need to devise innovative approaches to bringing safe drinking water to those who lack it. The point is, discussion is a powerful tool, but it is not enough unless it motivates people to take action. Contribute money to a clean water organization. Write to your representatives and insist that they do something about the problem. If it’s economically and logistically feasible for you, join an organization like Water is Basic that is actually building wells in water-deprived areas.
Keep in mind that last year’s theme, “Water and Climate Change,” helped focus much-needed attention on the extreme weather events that are making water more scarce, more unpredictable, more polluted or all three. As we mentioned in last year’s Water Day blog, action plans to tackle climate change need to be integrated across different sectors and coordinated across borders. And they must have one thing in common: safe and sustainable water management. Those goals have not changed and should not be dismissed simply because it’s a new year with a new theme.
At CLEAR2O®, we back the mission of World Water Day wholeheartedly. Since our entire business is built on the concept of making water safe, not only for drinking but a variety of purposes, we’re solidly in the corner of every person or organization that does its part to further the World Water Day mission – not just on March 22 but every day of the year.
After reading many of the posts in the comments section of the World Water Day website, we wanted to leave you with one that we found particularly poignant and meaningful:
“Rivers are the arteries of our planet, and water the blood and oxygen that keeps it alive.”